One key to both his medical and shoeing success that Michael Miller would like to pass along to other farriers is the importance of keeping fit. “Since I used to do long-distance biking as a hobby, I asked an exercise therapist to put together a conditioning program for me,” says the Trussville, Ala., hospital emergency room orthopedic surgeon and part-time farrier. “As it turns out, the exercises that are best for a biker are also good ones for a shoer.”
Miller maintains that shoers need to recognize that their biggest asset is not their truck or inventory of supplies. “Instead, it’s your body and you need to take care of it,” he says. “If you don’t exercise regularly, you’ll find out the hard way when your back gives out and you can’t shoe horses anymore.”
With 50 percent of laminitis cases due to horses grazing lush pastures or eating too much grain, Australian researcher Chris Pollitt says a key is discovering how and when pasture grasses produce dangerous levels of fructan. This will allow researchers to develop recommendations and preventative measures to sharply reduce the number of laminitis cases.
In a University of Queensland research project, Pollitt has developed a new method of inducing laminitis with a commercially available fructan. The goal is to characterize the substances generated by the dominant gut bacteria during fructan overload and relate it to the blood circulation of the horse prior to…